As you may or may not know, I used to run a little website focused on the Nintendo Entertainment System called NESfan.com. (Don’t bother looking for it at that address; it’s long-gone and the domain name is being squatted upon.) At the end of the site’s premature death (or long overdue death….depending on your opinion), we were working on a few projects that were quite interesting. One of which, was my exclusive interview with the 1990 Nintendo World Championships winner, Thor Aackerlund.
After a couple of months of investigation I was able to track Thor down, and over the course of a couple of e-mails he agreed to do an interview with me. The first contact with Thor happened a good six months or so before NESfan’s death, and I wanted to keep it a secret until I had the entire interview ready to publish on the web. I tell ya, it was hard to keep quiet sometimes, because on quite a few occasions some “Where’s Thor now?” posts would be made on the various NES forums, and although I knew the answer, I had to keep quiet.
Unfortunately, though, the interview wasn’t meant to be. Not because of NESfan’s death, but because a couple questions into our back-and-forth e-mail interview, Thor just quit responding. I e-mailed and ICQ’d him numerous times in an attempt to finish up the interview, but he would never reply. For all intents and purposes, it seemed as if he just lost interest and wanted me to leave him alone.
Whatever the reason for his sudden disappearance, I thought I’d go ahead and post the little bit of the interview that was actually completed. I know how hungry you NES freaks are for anything that can even be remotely labeled as new info, so here ya go:
Fatsquatch: Hello Thor, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to talk with me.
Thor Aackerlund: No Problem, it’s good to talk to some old-school NES players, most of those guys are incredible gamers nowadays, because of all the experience over time. A lot of the old NES games were VERY HARD 🙂
F: A good majority of the NES enthusiasts of today remember you from Nintendo Power and your various ads for Camerica. Before we get to all of that, let’s have a little bit of history. When did you first experience the NES?
TA: I think it was around Christmas 1987 or so, I saw a display (in Wal-Mart?) with a little plastic robot guy and game system and it was turned on, playing the original Super Mario Bros. game. There was a mob of kids hanging around the display waiting to play, and you could just tell that this would be huge. I didn’t get a NES until Christmas 1989, but by then I had spent plenty of time playing at my friend’s houses getting acquainted with (now) classic games.
F: When did you first hear about the 1990 Nintendo World Championships?
TA: I first heard about it from my good friend, Aaron Hebb, who had a NES and a ‘power-player’ Nintendo Power subscription or whatever. He had found out that the Nintendo World Championships (later called Powerfest 1990), was to officially start its tour in Dallas, TX. It was to be at Fair Park, near downtown, where they hold the Texas state fair every year. The admission was going to be kind of expensive, but he had a buy-one, get-one-free deal, so I tagged along with him and his parents. What a blast, they had this huge building filled up with game stations showing the latest and greatest and mostly unreleased NES and Gameboy games. Friday and Saturday were ‘qualifying’ days, and then the finals were held for each age group on each Sunday for each city. I was actually getting to the top-7 in the Dallas semi-finals and was edged out in 8th place, but I was shocked to even make it that far at all. I had never played Rad Racer or Tetris before the NWC, and it made me decide to rent the games and practice them with my friend, Aaron. After all, the Houston championship was only two weeks away!
So there ya go. That’s hardly a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of work, but at least it’s good for a giggle, I guess.
As for what Thor is up to now, if memory serves me correctly, he’s married without children, and works for an ISP (that’s Internet Service Provider for you newbies) in the Houston, TX area where he also lives. He’s still a gamer, but claims that he hasn’t touched an NES in years. In fact, I believe he told me that he didn’t even have one anymore. (Yeah I know, go figure.)